resident Reagan ended his California vacation today and immediately launched a new attack on his political foes whom he described as the "spendthrift fraternity."

Reagan strongly defended his recent veto of a continuing budget resolution that started a shutdown of nonessential functions of the federal government. He also pledged not to retreat from economic policies based on lowering taxes and cutting government spending.

Reagan named no members of the spendthrift fraternity but appeared to include Republican Everett McKinley Dirksen, the late Senate minority leader from Illinois.

The president deplored those who criticized his decision to veto the budget resolution over a difference of only a few billion dollars.

He asked how anyone could say "mere" about numbers as large as billions and paraphrased Dirksen's famous remark: "A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon it adds up to real money."

The president told a Republican fund-raising reception attended by about 250 people here that his opponents have no new ideas but want "a return to their bankrupt policies of higher taxes and higher spending."

Ohio Republicans paid $1,000 each to attend the reception at which Reagan spoke and another $4,000 if they stayed for dinner with Gov. James A. Rhodes and other state GOP leaders.

Reagan portrayed his veto of the continuing resolution as a previously unheard-of step. "I'm still waiting for the sky to fall," he said.

Reagan said the veto was essential to keep the budget under control. The difference between his final position and what Congress offered him was about $2.5 billion. Reagan tonight cited the almost $10 billion difference between his Sept. 24 position and what Congress sent him.

Reagan denounced the "tax-and-tax, spend-and-spend policies of our opponents" and pointed out that the federal government has not had a budget for 14 months.

The budget, he said, is out in "the wild blue yonder." He said he cannot remember any state government practicing such fiscal irresponsibility.

Deputy press secretary Larry Speakes told reporters on the flight to Washington that the White House has made progress in negotiations with Congress on a new spending resolution "to avert another midnight appropriations bill."

Speakes said the White House has a "good feeling" about the discussions between Republican congressional leaders and presidential aides.

Reagan plans to spend tomorrow and Wednesday in meetings with labor leaders at the White House and on Friday is to turn his attention to an intensive series of meetings on the 1983 budget.

Reagan's economic policies were the focus for about 1,000 people who demonstrated outside the Westin Hotel tonight as the president spoke on a 37-degree night.

Reagan, whose speech ran about 15 minutes, also met privately with a group the White House called "major Ohio GOP contributors."

The president ended his speech by saying he is receiving "wonderful letters" of support from Americans around the country.

He said that he recently received a letter in Braille from a former GI who lost his sight during World War II. Reagan said the blind man "wrote in Braille to tell me that if cutting his pension would help get this country back on its feet, he'd like to have me cut his pension.

" . . . We're not going to cut his pension. But we're sure going to get this country back on its feet."